Have we ever considered how people feel about competing in a sport of the opposite sex? Stronger or rougher? Would a woman feel more energy? It has always been a question going on and on for centuries.
Are you a female athlete that played during middle school, high school, and even college but stopped? What was the reason? Was it because of the constant pressure for good performances and wins? There’s a 94% that many female athletes stop playing as there isn’t a lot of female science data to help us understand our bodies as we undergo hormonal changes.
In 2021, Whoop, a Boston tech company with a mission to unlock human performance announced its inaugural Women’s Performance Collective (WPC) to demonstrate the company’s commitment to pursuing research, thought leadership, and product development initiatives that specifically benefit women. In addition, they partnered with VOICEINSPORT (VIS), a global sports company that provides girls and women access to over 80 tech experts in sport psychology, sports nutrition, and women-specific health, mentorship by pro & collegiate athletes, and educational content written by women athletes.”
This tech company is constantly looking for ways to partner with professionals from many areas so its members can educate themselves. In this case, women can better understand their sleep, recovery, strain, and menstrual cycle with Whoop. Only 6% of scientific data exists regarding women athletes. While all that sounds solid work, I want to put that information aside and talk about this:
At least 44 states currently request or require to ask female high school students for information regarding their “menstrual period.” While this action has been going on for two decades, it is a requirement that every athlete answers them before they can compete. Oklahoma might not ask questions about the menstrual cycle. Still, they give a major emphasis on knowing “biological sex at birth affidavit.” In contrast, Massachusetts currently examines “genitalia,” like New York, which asks male athletes if they have “only one testicle.”
The five questions regarding menstrual cycle history asked in questionnaires are the following:
- Have you ever had a menstrual period?
- How old were you when you had your first menstrual period?
- When was your most recent menstrual period?
- How many periods have you had in the last 12 months?
- What was the longest time between period and period in the last year?
Many states ask similar or identical questions as these derive from– or copies– of pre-participation evaluation forms written by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Why has Florida gotten more critiques?
The Palm Beach Post took a closer look and made an investigation that while Florida State High School Athletic Association has been doing this for the past 20 years on their pre-participation form and questions are marked as optional; it’s been getting a lot of controversies due to the abortion and privacy concerns. Other states require only the physician’s signature page to clear athletes, but in Florida, all medical data is turned over to the athlete’s school. We all know the world we’re living in, and how it can easily fall into the wrong hands and get leaked.
Some committee members recommend that all pages of the forms, including a student’s menstrual history, be turned over to the school. Other members argued that “coaches who are not health care providers shouldn’t have access to someone’s medical records.”
What’s worse: information leaked or the government implementing a law?
Privacy is everything!
To make matters worse, in 2021, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law in Florida that banned trans girls from the female sports category.
If you’re an athlete, a healthcare professional might have mentioned playing sports, stress, working out, and juggling studies can also mess with a menstrual period. Necessary actions can be taken under the supervision of a healthcare provider. Global Sport Matters cites that the US Women’s National Team in soccer is reportedly required to share menstrual information with the team, as some believe that it can optimize athletic production with practices and physical requirements. Good Morning America reported that this practice helped the team win the 2019 Women’s World Cup. This type of news shouldn’t be rubbed in the face to say, “since the US Women’s Soccer team managed to do it, it should be done by everybody.”
There’s no reason for the government to go to this kind of length. Nobody in the world deserves to be discriminated against. I’m someone who wants a world to be more inclusive, and although trying to make a difference may seem hard, it makes you want to give up. A coach doesn’t need to know my menstrual cycle history as he or she does not fall in the “healthcare professional” department. A school and neither the government doesn’t need to know, either. This sounds like living in a world a la The Handmaid’s Tale. No government or school should know why someone decided to change their birth sex. It’s a personal decision. And what seems to be bothering and illogical is that every female student who’s an athlete should suffer from these kinds of actions because there’s a trans athlete. Every female student and woman deserves privacy, dignity, and respect.
*Chat GPT did not write this.